Today, Congressman Mike Michaud, Ranking Member of House Veterans Affairs' Subcommittee on Health, reacted to a letter of legal clarification provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that all programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are exempt from sequestration, which was part of a debt limit law passed last year.
Michaud pushed the need for OMB to issue a legal clarification in a January meeting with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and in multiple hearings of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. Michaud is a cosponsor of the "Protect VA Healthcare Act," which would protect the VA from automatic budget cuts.
"It was never the intent of Congress to include the VA in sequestration, and I'm disappointed that the Administration has dragged its feet in issuing this decision," said Michaud. "The delay caused our veterans unneeded concern and stress. But even in issuing this decision, OMB leaves questions unanswered, and Congress should still move forward on legislation to ensure that the VA is not cut. We can't run out the deadline on this without taking action--it's unfair to both veterans and to those providing veteran services."